Sax on the Web Forum banner

Questionable overtones.

1746 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Martinman
does it matter if my Bb up to C overtones are sharp? the purpose of overtones is to match your normal tone to the does it matter if the intonation is off? my low Bb is always at least 15 cents sharp and my middle Bb is always either in tune or if not it is flat. so im just wondering if that matters.

Oh and do sub tones have the same concept as overtones........i was told that overtones are showing you the true tone of your instrument and that those sub tones might be showing the same thing.

So if someone could get back to me on these things i would really appreciate it.

1 - 2 of 12 Posts
My understanding is that the notes will not be in tune with equal temperament tuners which are based on an artificial system that divides the octave into 12 equal semitones. This has no basis in acoustics.

For this reason the octaves should be in tune acordoing to your tuner, but the other notes will not be in tune with a tuner or keyboard. This fits in with magical pig's quote from Wikipedia above.

However I am happy to be corrected on this if I'm oversimplyfying or talking rubbish.
"In tune" depends on what you want to be in tune with.

If you are playing with a band that has a keyboard, then you need to be in tune with that, which is "equal temperament") Octave divided into 12 equal semitones) which is what is used for electronic tuners and keyboards.

Very often ensembles without keyboards or instruments (e.g. singers, strings) use just intonation, which is (I think) more based on the intonation of the overtones (someone please correct me or point to an authority if I'm wrong). Usually such ensembles just drift into this tuning without consciously doing it as its more natural and musical than equal temperament.

Equal temperament was invented because without it you can't have an instrument with fixed pitch notes that can play in any key. (e.g. G# is different to Ab).

The "basically" is that you need to be able to play in tnue with a pinao or tuner (equal temperament) but don't worry too much if your overtones (apart from the octaves) are not in tune with the tuner.

BTW, there are no separate subtone fingerings, subtone is more of an embouchure/breath thing. Maybe you are thinking of my altissimo fingering chart.
See less See more
1 - 2 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.